Aimeric Certainly A Boon
Against all expectations, the Birds fought Vancouver club Cornwall Pylons to a standstill in their The Global Trophy meetup, and were probably the harder done by for not managing the full points. A delightful early run saw the Birds go two-up in fifteen minutes, but a symmetric finish saw Belgian Number Ten Aimeric Boons salvage a point for their Division Four opponents.
Other than their big loss to the outstanding Einebakken Kickers, and a league slip-up right before that at leaders CFNV UTD, the Pylons were riding high - nine wins and zero goals conceded in the ten previous matches attested to that. All eyes were, of course, on Boons and fellow striker Josef Hoffman, who had plundered eighteen between them just in the league this season.
Cornwall were not without their weaknesses, though, and while they had a reputation for effective defending, their wide and high line provided an incentive for pacy wingers to try their luck - which Grilled's definitely did. Cyril Künzler
was only too happy at Soma Csehi not pulling his weight on his flank, and after a few near shaves, he ran straight through in the tenth minute only to poke it marginally wide.
What initial jumpiness the Birds retained was banished by that, and they were the ones doing all the asking of questions right after that. Cornwall never looked overly comfortable backtracking, and they went behind in the 13th minute, as Florus Romijn
latched onto Kalki Parvathaneni
's square pass, after the latter had done much of the work making inroads.
It was two-nil bare seconds later, as Cornwall teetered on the edge; Romijn, full of derring-do after his goal, came close with a lightly-deflected long shot that veered off course at the last moment. The resulting corner was cleared, but Grilled were back in no time, and Islom Davlatov
elbowed his way - legally - into position for the finishing touch.
Cornwall Pylons were dangerous when they managed to storm forward, and a fine direct charge through the middle in the 23rd might have been rewarded, but for Hoffman's dismal shot - the Dutchman was aghast at himself for that one. The best chance of the remainder of the half fell to Davlatov, who did little wrong with his pinpoint grounder to the far side of goal. The tanned Olivier Masson flew across in a flash, though, and his long arm just about reached the ball to turn it around the post.
Everything considered, it was an excellent period by the Birds, who appeared to be recovering some of the self-belief that had deserted them in recent weeks. Moey Xin Seng
was for one at the centre of about every move, and it was thus no surprise that the Pylons kept trying to shut him down. Ognjen Kolaković was fortunate to stay on after a botched tackle on the Grilled skipper in the 54th.
If Grilled maintained a slight advantage, the match was getting rather more balanced and open overall, as Cornwall got accustomed to their wingers. After Davlatov forced another fine save out of Masson 62 minutes in, Hoffman beat Künzler out wide with his physicality, but Csehi couldn't get in position for the obvious shot in time.
must have thought that this was as good a time to disrupt the opponents' rhythm as any, and sent Mohammad Ramli Saliman
on for Neeraj Muthyala
. Unfortunately, the Birds began leaking goals almost immediately, but to be fair to poor benighted Saliman, this was certainly not his fault.
Actually, Cornwall were good value for a goal or two of their own, from their increasingly-composed second-half play, and it was only a matter of time before Grilled's backline slipped up. Yuki Irie
staying behind had worked up to this point, but with Boons in far better shape, this tack eventually worked to the Belgian's benefit. Unable to step up for offside in the 72nd, Yuki was reduced to trying to honestly chase Boons down, and was humiliated for pace in his failure. 2-1.
Three minutes later, Aimeric Boons would be at it again. Cornwall's designated free-kick taker, he demonstrated an ability to improvise, when Günter Reder played it on top of his favoured right foot, some ten yards out from the penalty area. He didn't even bother to scope out the goal before putting his foot through the ball, producing a screamer that left Valentin Batâr
It was not completely over yet, as Grilled managed one last good chance with Saliman sending Davlatov clear, only for Masson to beat the Grilled striker to the punch.